But the candidates clashed on how to reform health care and
how to improve the country’s economy.
Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin and Republican businessman John
Raese sat at opposite ends of a long table during the debate.
They rarely exchanged looks, but they did exchange criticisms.
At the debate, Raese attacked Manchin as being too
supportive of President Obama’s administration’s policies. He’s claimed Manchin
would be a rubber stamp for Obama, and Manchin reiterated a phrase of his
that’s become more common as this election has progressed.
“I’m not a rubber stamp for anybody, and never have been in
my life. In the spirit of Sen. Byrd, he didn’t care who the President was,”
“If they were wrong, they were wrong, no matter what
political party. And I will operate in the same vein.”
Raese says Manchin is a career politician, and accused
Manchin of priding himself on special interests.
Raese says President Obama and Manchin would work together
to keep America
on what he says is the wrong track.
“We have a country right now that I think is going in the
wrong direction,” Raese said.
“I’d like an opportunity to go to the United States Senate
and put the country in the right direction,” he said, “a country based on
free-enterprise, capitalism. I want to see the United
States rise again.”
Raese and Manchin disagreed on how to reform health care.
Raese wants to repeal the legislation Congress passed
earlier this year, which he calls Obamacare. Manchin disagrees.
“I’m not prepared to scrap the entire bill, there are parts
that need changed,” he said, “but let me tell you, I’m not prepared to tell
your child who had a pre-existing condition, that he or she can’t be covered.
There’s a lot of good in the bill that basically Democrats and Republicans
But not Raese. And he pulled no punches when discussing his
issues with the legislation.
“It is pure, unadulterated Socialism, it is the worst bill
that has ever come out of the United States Senate and House,” he said.
“I think right now, when you look at the gross domestic
product in this country, with Obamacare, you’re looking at the fact that we’re
over almost 51 percent of the GDP in this
country will be controlled by the federal government, unacceptable.”
There are four candidates running for the seat.
The other two are
Mountain Party Candidate Jesse Johnson, and Jeff Becker of the Constitution
Becker says he’s an avid supporter of a smaller federal
government, and that Democrats and Republicans alike haven’t worked to achieve
“Most of these federal departments really aren’t authorized
by the Constitution,” he said.
“We need to look at these and phase them out, we need to
phase out as many of these federal programs as we can.”
Jesse Johnson spoke adamantly about a key issue he says is
important to West Virginia and
the nation - diversifying our energy economy.
“More energy shines on the surface of this planet in one
day, than all of mankind consumes in a year,” Johnson said.
“We have tremendous options, and no political will in Washington
or the state of West Virginia to
explore them, and to incentivize them.”
Outside the studios, a few dozen activists held signs,
representing both Manchin and Raese supporters.
Many were West Virginia
Colin Shock is a political science major. He supports
“I don’t think West Virginia
is going to vote out someone who’s been serving this state for years and years,”
“I really believe Manchin is going to win.”
Daniel Brummage is another student at WVU.
He held a sign saying “Can’t Spell Obama without MBA,
Neither Can Heather Bresch.”
This refers to a degree scandal at the university, involving
An investigation concluded Bresch was awarded an MBA degree
she didn’t earn, which was rescinded.
Brummage says he wants Raese to win.
“He’s less known than Manchin is, with Manchin being
governor,” Brummage said.
“Just the exposure that comes from a debate like this, he
can set the record straight on a few of the things Manchin has been slandering
him about. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
The election is scheduled for November 2.